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Influence of interactive thematic maps on tourist perceptions: a network analysis

Jin Young Chung (Department of Recreation Management and Therapeutic Recreation, University of Wisconsin‐La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA)
Faiz I. Anuar (Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Hanyoung Go (Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Ulrike Gretzel (Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 4 October 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test if and how interactive thematic maps can encourage the formation of tourists' perceptual maps of attractions in a destination.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were derived from 365 online trip planners generated by users of the Amish Country web site from 1 August 2007 to 31 July 2008. Given the nature of the data set, network analysis techniques were used to analyze the data.

Findings

Network analysis findings demonstrate that the things to do (TTD) included in the interactive Heritage Trail map were more frequently bundled together in the saved trip plans than TTDs included in other sections of the web site. Further analysis suggests that some additional non‐Heritage TTDs could be included in the Heritage Trail map due to their perceptual proximity.

Practical implications

The findings provide evidence that interactive maps on web sites can play an important role in tourists' planning behavior, which has significant implications for online tourism marketing. The findings also provide insights as to how online behavioral data can be used to derive marketing intelligence.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the theoretical development of the role of interactive maps in travel planning and also illustrates the usefulness of network analysis for investigating tourism‐related issues.

Keywords

Citation

Young Chung, J., Anuar, F.I., Go, H. and Gretzel, U. (2011), "Influence of interactive thematic maps on tourist perceptions: a network analysis", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 216-234. https://doi.org/10.1108/17579881111173767

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited